Conciousness of Child-raising Between Sweden and Japan
From “Kazenoko Letter” No.383 - December 2009

 We invited Swedish Psychologist, Gunnel Winlund, and our Guardian Association hosted her lecture presentation last November, 9th. The contents of her lecture were very convincing, all the more, because her country is ranked No.1 to be a mother among 158 countries.

 After the lecture, we asked attendees to answer questionnaires and give comments. When we looked at the result, people were impressed how well the Swedish social system is established to support working mothers who raise children. However, there is a very important point in one of the comments of the questionnaire. The comment is that there is obviously a gap between Sweden and Japan, but the decisive difference is probably awareness regarding child-raising more than the system itself.

 The relationship of a Swedish couple is certainly more equal for the individuals; which is to say it is more democratic. Both parents are proactive in child-raising. They don’t think it’s a burden, and act naturally. Europe on the whole seems to be more progressive in this regard. A child who grows up in such a home can probably raise their child equally with their partner when they get older.

 The welfare system in Sweden is not that old. It probably started 30 years ago and has been developing quickly. However, a sense of equality was not able to establish itself right away , so it was probably in couples that equality was established earlier.

 This is very different from Japan. The system will improve from now on in Japan also. And our government is eager to support child-raising as part of the Measures to Halt Birthrate Decline. However, if consciousness regarding equality between the sexes in Japanese households won’t change, we can’t build a real happy home. It was a very good presentation of the problem.

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